Saturday, July 9, 2011

Wilton’s Music Hall – still under threat of demolition - can it be saved? There have been articles in various publications but will they have had any effect? For example in the Sunday Telegraph - “The trouble with Wilton’s Music Hall is not enough people get to see it. If they did there would be a national outcry at the news that it faces demolition …… What’s needed now is a plutocrat. Sir Philip Green could have restored Wilton’s four times over with the money he is said to have spent on his 55th birthday party. I don’t begrudge him his fun; all I am saying is, I know a great little place for his next party.”

And in the Sunday Times – “A great shame that the beautiful Wilton’s, in East London, the world’s oldest surviving music hall is threatened with demolition. A second application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £2.5million has been rejected. Opened more than a 150 years ago, the venue has had some great evenings of music and drama in recent times …… some wealthy actors, such as Helen Mirren and Hugh Grant, who have happily gone to awareness events at Wilton’s can dip their hands deeper into their purses or pockets.”

And in The Telegraph –“Here’s an urgent SOS to any wealthy philanthropists out there who might be able to step in and save the semi-derelict Wilton’s Music Hall in east London. It now stages regular performances in its splendid if dilapidated auditorium and is the most magical theatre space in London …… 40 percent of the building is now so structurally unsound that it is not open to the public. In all £3.8million is required to rescue Wilton’s which first opened in 1859 and is the oldest surviving music hall in the world. It was saved from the wrecker’s ball after a campaign led by John Betjeman in the 1960’s and having once again re-established itself as a splendid working theatre it would be wretched to see it go under now. ‘The building cannot wait any longer: we need to take action and raise the money now,’ says Wilton’s director Frances Mayhew. ‘If we do nothing, by autumn this year we would be closed down.’”

To find out more or make a contribution to the appeal, call 020 7702 9555, or go to

Now Sir Philip Green, Helen Mirren and Hugh Grant have been mentioned but what about those who have become billionaires through show business? I refer in particular to people like Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Paul McCartney. How about Danielle Radcliffe who is reported to be worth £54million? Will they put their hands in their pockets or will they, despite their wealth, like Lord Nelson turn a blind eye? I have the distinct feeling it will be the latter and, if Wilton’s is to be saved it will be up to the hoi polloi to put their pennies in the plate.

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